Through an organised network of volunteering placements and projects our pupils seek, through effective engagement with our local community, to have a meaningful impact on the lives of those around us. Whether leading a workshop in a neighbouring school, participating in Eton Town Council’s street-clean mornings or hosting a lunch club or tea party for senior citizens, our pupils are keen to roll up their sleeves and get involved.
I hope to learn how to not only work well with others but also form relationships through reaching out to the community.Pupil volunteer
Volunteering initiatives at the College are coordinated by the Master-in-Charge and our Social Action Mentor, who guide and inspire boys to explore every opportunity to make a difference.
Volunteering placements include:
- Local schools – music practice, classroom help, sports coaching, maths mentoring, chess clubs, Latin classes
- Placements with the local elderly and disabled – helping in private houses, care homes, weekly clubs and charity shops
- Museums, arts centres, libraries and charity shops – running workshops for local children or assisting with clerical tasks
- Outdoor placements – swan rescue, rowing coaching, riverside maintenance, tourist information and renovating public gardens in Slough
In addition to local community placements, pupil volunteers also enrol in Eton College’s Combined Cadet Force and guide College Admissions Tours.
To help pupils make the most of their volunteering opportunities, and to be the best volunteers they can be, the College delivers a broad programme of events and assignments to develop boys’ awareness and social literacy. These include a series of talks to inspire and inform pupils; workshops to help them prepare mentally for their responsibilities; and a series of opportunities to reflect on how they might make the most of their volunteering placement as a chance to serve and to learn.
The Social Action boy-led committee serves as a forum for boy perspectives on volunteering placements through the Community Engagement programme. Our boys seek out new volunteering opportunities, such as in the holidays or for younger blocks, and support boys starting their new volunteering placement. Our boys also work to promote volunteering in the College, whilst helping to organise events for the local community such as the Founder’s Day Christmas Tea Party.
Social Impact Society
Boys serving as Secretaries of the Social Impact Society invite speakers who can educate students on global sustainability and social action, and lead discussion groups on social impact and social issues. These are usually held on Monday evenings and are open to all of the Eton community. In 2019, 13 events took place where students heard from leaders of national and international charities, social entrepreneurs, and their fellow students on the topic of climate change.
The Prizes Committee assists with the planning, promotion, and running of three prizes to encourage all boys to engage in social action and community engagement. For the Social Impact Challenge, boys are invited to propose a charity for Eton Action to support and must engage with the organisation by volunteering, fundraising, and/or raising awareness of whichever issue the charity’s work focuses on.
The Khemka Prize rewards innovation, creativity, and social entrepreneurship by inviting boys to propose a solution to a social problem, local or global. The goal of this prize is to encourage boys to think like social entrepreneurs and develop a plan or business proposal for their potential solution.
The Birchall Prize, founded over 100 years ago by Major Sir John Dearman Birchall TD in honour of his son who died whilst a boy at Eton, is an essay prize where boys in each block submit a piece of reflective writing about a social action project they have undertaken within the last 12 months.